What I’ll take away from 2016: A reflection.
- Truth. This year brought me some hard lessons in what I should accept vs. what I must refuse; what I need vs. what I want; what matters—and what doesn’t. What I’ve been taught to accept as reality is not always the same as Truth. Reality is a shape-shifter; it’s dependent on my frame of reference. My experiences, knowledge and information determine my perception—how I’m able to see a thing—which affects how I’ll react to it. “Reality” can be influenced by the voices that surround me, by who and what I let feed me. But the Truth will never shift for my sake; It doesn’t care about my esteemed judgments, current facts or worldly wisdom (1 Cor. 3:19). The Truth will always be stable; It will always be what God says, not what someone else would have me believe.
- Revelation. I re-discovered that my journey never ends. That’s tiring and exhilarating at the same time. It’s kind of like parenting—there are no vacation days, but participating in the raw process of growth and maturity seems like a fair enough trade. That’s what I think this journey is: a fair trade. Sure, there are hard days; some harder than others. But we’ll constantly be discovering hidden strengths and veiled Truths, so we never really arrive. Until we leave this place, we’ll always be journeying towards new Revelations, richer relationships, deeper understanding. And while that can seem tiring, there’s an upshot: God always has fresh, new secrets to share with those who seek His Truth, with those who pursue His friendship (Psalm 25:14, John 15:15). I think that’s more than a fair trade.
- Confrontation. Mostly with myself. Because Truth plus Revelation will always bring Confrontation. This year, I’ve been challenged to use what I’ve learned to confront what I’ve been taught, to tackle things outside of my comfort zone, to put to action what I say I believe. Words are my lifeline, counted among my most valued possessions. But they are weakened—and cheapened—when my actions don’t support them or where there is a confrontation between faith, feelings and fear. Under pressure, when I’m wronged or wrong, when I mess up and fall down, when the Dream seems distant and hope lies dormant, then what I really believe will be exposed by what I do. But this year, I think I’ve found the secret: I just have to do it afraid. Because for me, 2016’s toughest Truth and greatest Revelation is this: The true test of what I say lies in what I do; so until my faith informs my actions, there will always be Confrontation.
Here’s to a safe, healthy rest of the year for you and those you love. Have a happy, productive, Truthful 2017!